Update on the 2020 PolarTREC Expeditions

We are excited to announce that in 2021, we will be able to support a few PolarTREC expeditions! The details are still emerging but we will share the updates as we get them. COVID-19 continues to impact us all and that includes polar research. We will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly. Our priority is for the safety of the teams and the communities of which they would visit. Most of the deployments for the 2020 PolarTREC educators to both the Arctic and Antarctica continue to be postponed until 2022. We hope that you will continue to visit the website and join the Polar Education List to learn about new resources, lesson plans (including virtual lessons), and the latest news on our program.

PolarTREC Alumni Returns to the Field After 10 Years

Mark drives back to the glacier

Teacher Mark Goldner is returning to the field with researcher Dr. Julie Brigham-Grette 10 years after his first PolarTREC expedition in 2011. The research, this time funded through National Geographic, will return to the Svalbard Archipelago and continue to look at ice-ocean interactions and processes at the faces of tidewater glaciers. The team will be mapping bathymetry of the ice margin area to compare with earlier surveys, and recording oceanographic data (including temperature, salinity, and turbidity of the water column) to track the inflow of North Atlantic water at the ice face.

Latest Journals

23 June 2021 Pollinators

By: Liza Backman
Caroline and Lucy stand and take notes around an OTC.
The PolliNation A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my core family up here got a little larger with the addition of the “Pollinator crew”, or what we now call “the Polli-Nation”: a group of three students from Colorado College, Caroline, Lucy, and Alex. Their work runs adjacent to ours, so most of…

22 June 2021 Aufeis

By: Liza Backman
Jeremy stands very tiny surrounded by massive amounts of ice.
Finally… the Aufeis! I’ve been told that every year there is a trendy site-to-see or a hike-to-hike around Toolik and that it shifts locations from year to year. This year that site is the Aufeis. Looking down on the Aufeis from above, you can see some canyons and caves beginning to form. Jeremy…

21 June 2021 Sunday Hike

By: Liza Backman
The group stands in a green landscape in front of the river.
Sunday Funday After a six-day workweek, you may be wondering what scientists do on Sunday. To be honest, it varies from Sunday to Sunday and person to person: some folks use the time to finish up a few work items or get ahead, some use the time to watch their favorite TV shows or catch up with…

21 June 2021 Now Gear This!

By: Mark Goldner
Scientific gear in boxes
Packing up In less than a week, we will be off to Norway to begin our Arctic adventure! It’s been a busy week finishing up the school year and making preparations for the trip. I thought I’d post a short journal post today about all the gear! I got to spend Friday with Julie, Zander and Kelly as…

16 June 2021 The Burn

By: Liza Backman
Liza stands in front of a red helicopter.
One Fiery Day! Yesterday, after a wonderful PolarConnect event, I headed out with Lexy Salinas to learn more about what she does while she’s up at Toolik. While Lexy grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, she’s recently been working on getting her master’s at Notre Dame, where she focuses on Arctic…

14 June 2021 Fixing Fences

By: Liza Backman
The whole team stands in front of the solar power box.
A Day with Team Vole Voles are rodents, and similar to mice, it seems like once they’re around they don’t go away. The plots that Sarah and I monitor for phenology have been torn up by voles, and each week we go out there it seems like they’ve eaten up a different tussock or dug a new hole in…

2021 Expeditions

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Svalbard is currently undergoing rapid climate change with the dramatic retreat of its tidewater glaciers.\nA view in front of Kronebreen Glacier. Ny \u00c5lesund, Svalbard, Norway. Photo by Mark Goldner (PolarTREC 2011), Courtesy of ARCUS.\n\n\nThe goal of the research is to gain a deeper understanding of ice-ocean interactions and processes at the faces of tidewater glaciers. This important research will increase our knowledge of climate change and tell the visual story - in particular, this research will further our understanding of ice retreat rates and the impact on sea level rise in the future.\nTidewater glaciers are among the fastest-changing systems in the Arctic, and the dynamic Kronebreen glacier is situated a short distance from the scientific research base of Ny \u00c5lesund at 79\u00b0N latitude. In particular, the team will investigate how climate change affects sediment transport and deposition associated with the tidewater glaciers, icebergs, meltwater streams, and marine currents.\nThe summer ice m\u00e9lange at the ice face in these smaller systems is flushed out rapidly making it possible to work safely from small boats at a distance (between 200m to 2 km) from the calving ice face. Our proposed work follows on our earlier observations that warm North Atlantic Water is impacting the ice face more today than seen in 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2014, increasing retreat rates. Over these years, we have observed different meltwater plumes turning on and off on a daily to weekly basis. Funded by National Geographic, we have planned the science to add observations to other aspects of the glacial system being monitored by Norsk Polar scientists (Jack Kohler, Katerine Husmin, et al).\nThe team will be mapping bathymetry of the ice margin area to compare with earlier surveys, and recording oceanographic data (including temperature, salinity, and turbidity of the water column) to track the inflow of North Atlantic water at the ice face. They are particularly interested in monitoring the position and velocities of subglacial jets as they exit the glacier and enter the fjord. The team will also record and monitor iceberg calving at the glacier face.\nBeyond the science, public outreach using science and imagery will be used to communicate to the public critical climate change issues, exposing them to the challenges and rewards of conducting high latitude research. Public outreach will showcase arctic processes and how what happens in the Arctic high latitudes impacts coastal resiliency."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"70.7205","lon":"29.3191"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/expeditions\/img\/goldnerimg3220.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2021-05-15T12:00:00Z\">15 May 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2021-06-30T12:00:00Z\">30 June 2021<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/phenology-and-vegetation-in-the-warming-arctic-2021\" hreflang=\"en\">Phenology and Vegetation in the Warming Arctic 2021<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 May 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">30 June 2021<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Toolik Field Station, Alaska <br \/>\n\nSteve Oberbauer and Jeremy May set up the Mobile Instrumented Sensor Platform (MISP) tram. Utqia\u0121vik, Alaska. Photo by Alejandra Martinez.\n\nThe goal of this expedition is to understand arctic terrestrial change by monitoring vegetation communities in northern Alaska associated with the International Tundra Experiment Arctic Observatory Network (ITEX-AON). The team will study environmental variability and increased temperature on tundra plant phenology, growth, species composition and ecosystem function.\nThe ITEX network works collaboratively to study changes in tundra plant and ecosystem responses to experimental warming. The network monitoring sites are located across many major ecosystems of the Arctic. This project will provide urgently needed data critical to understanding the impact of multi-scale vegetation change on ecosystem function, namely land-atmosphere carbon and water fluxes and energy balance."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"64.8598","lon":"-147.8371"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Martinez_Screen_Shot_01%20_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-08-15T12:00:00Z\">15 August 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-09-01T12:00:00Z\">1 September 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/international-arctic-buoy-program\" hreflang=\"en\">International Arctic Buoy Program<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 August 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">1 September 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Utqia\u0121vik, Alaska &amp; Thule, Greenland <br \/>\n\nLand-fast sea ice is fastened along the shoreline in Utqia\u0121vik, Alaska. Photo by John Wood.\n\nThe participants of the International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP) work together to maintain a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean to provide meteorological and oceanographic data for real-time operational requirements and research purposes including support to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme. Data from the IABP have many uses. For example: 1. Research in Arctic climate and climate change, 2. Forecasting weather and ice conditions, 3. Validation of satellites, 4. Forcing, validation and assimilation into numerical climate models, and 5. Tracking the source and fate of samples taken from the ice. Over 1000 publications have benefited from observations from the IABP.\nSarah and the team will be headed out for a second deployment to Greenland in June-July 2020."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"71.29056","lon":"-156.78861"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Lau_P6080085_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-08-01T12:00:00Z\">1 August 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-08-15T12:00:00Z\">15 August 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/greenland-subglacial-tremor-project\" hreflang=\"en\">Greenland Subglacial Tremor Project<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">1 August 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 August 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Ilulissat, Greenland and West Greenland Ice Sheet <br \/>\n\nThe Greenland Ice Sheet near Kangerslussuaq, Greenland. Photo by Tina Ciarametaro.\n\nEstimates of the Greenland ice sheet's contribution to sea level rise over the next century range from a few centimeters to over one meter. Differences of a few millimeters per year may be significant in lowlying, populous coastal areas where planning with such a large range of uncertainty has high economic and social costs for governments, communities, and businesses. This study will improve our understanding of how increases in surface runoff will influence ice flow and subsequent loss of water mass from the Greenland ice sheet to the oceans."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"69.2198","lon":"-51.0986"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Ciarametaro_IMG_2592_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-07-01T12:00:00Z\">1 July 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-08-31T12:00:00Z\">31 August 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/harmful-algal-blooms-in-arctic-waters\" hreflang=\"en\">Harmful Algal Blooms in Arctic Waters<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">1 July 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">31 August 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Ship-based in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas <br \/>\n\nIce algae in the northern Chukchi Sea. Photo by Sandra Thornton.\n\nAs ocean temperatures warm, in particular the shallow Chukchi Sea, many organisms may spread into Arctic waters. Some of these present significant threats to human and ecosystem health, such as harmful algal bloom (HAB) species (commonly called red tides). The potent neurotoxins that these species produce can affect marine mammals, seabirds, and other resources critical to subsistence harvesters.\nAt the same time, little is known about the present and future risk from toxic algae to humans in the Pacific Arctic region. This study will be the first to document the current distribution of highly toxic HAB species over large spatial scales within the Alaskan Arctic and will provide estimates of areas at high risk of toxicity now and in a warming future. The hypothesis underlying this project is that HABs in Alaskan Arctic waters are not only transported from the south through Bering Strait but are now originating locally on the Chukchi shelf due to warming temperatures, circulation dynamics, and water mass structure. These factors influence bloom magnitude, duration, toxicity, and recurrence. This will be addressed through a joint physical-biological field and laboratory program to study the relationship between HAB species distribution\/dynamics and the physical environment of the Chukchi Sea region.\nThe distribution of HAB species on the Chukchi shelf will be mapped in relation to hydrography and circulation, including a comprehensive survey of the Alaskan Coastal Current which transports the warmest water in the Chukchi Sea. A range of molecular and physiological tools will be used to investigate the origin, connectivity, and fate of HAB populations in the region. Sediment profiling will establish a historical record of blooms along the major transport pathways to the western Arctic. This information will be used to generate conceptual models of the origin, transport, and fate of HABs in the Chukchi Sea region."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"56.9073","lon":"-178.1395"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Bartlett_Brown_EvieWorking_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-06-01T12:00:00Z\">1 June 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-08-01T12:00:00Z\">1 August 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/warming-and-removals-in-mountains-of-northern-canada\" hreflang=\"en\">Warming and Removals in Mountains of Northern Canada<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">1 June 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">1 August 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Kluane Lake region, Southwest Yukon Territory, Canada <br \/>\n\nWarming chambers in alpine tundra near Kluane Lake, Yukon, Canada. Photo by Jennie McLaren.\n\nThe impacts of global climate warming will be disproportionately felt in arctic and montane ecosystems. There is high risk of these ecosystems releasing their large soil carbon (C) stores with climate warming, positively feeding back to rising atmospheric C. One of the fundamental challenges facing global change research is predicting changes in species distributions and ecosystem functions in response to warming. I propose an experiment which enables the simultaneous study of the direct and indirect effects of warming on ecosystem functioning in northern alpine ecosystems. This type of research has been repeatedly called for to determine how changes in species composition and climate warming will influence biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics.\nFew warming experiments occur in alpine, as opposed to arctic tundra, despite the importance of alpine tundra as a C sink, as well as the global distribution of these ecosystems. We will provide a dataset to the tundra warming literature with ecosystem characteristics unique to montane environments, including responses by both the plant and microbial communities, as well as changes in ecosystem C dynamics.\nThis project will also contribute to a globally-distributed montane ecosystem warming research program. Collaborative networks such as these are essential for examining the context dependent nature of responses to environmental change and will improve our ability to predict responses across ecosystems to climate change."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"61.18833","lon":"-138.40888"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/polly_z_008_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2022-08-01T12:00:00Z\">1 August 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-08-15T12:00:00Z\">15 August 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/education-knowledge-and-the-narwhal\" hreflang=\"en\">Education, Knowledge, and the Narwhal<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">1 August 2022<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 August 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Kakkiat Point, Arctic Bay, Nunavut, Canada <br \/>\n\n Isumaqatingniq, the Inuktitut word for expressing, \u201cthinking together\u201d describes the process proposed for our educational collaborative to integrate knowledge frames of traditional Inuit knowledge and STEM. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), or Inuit knowledge literally translates in Inuktitut to mean \u201ca way of knowing\u201d and science are two ways of knowing the natural and physical world. Both have a useful, complimentary, and insightful methodology. Holders of IQ and scientists are learning to better understand the benefits of each knowledge frame, though seldom do they fully appreciate the discipline or practice of the other, and even less often do they actively integrate these two knowledge approaches. More importantly, future generations of children from Inuit and other First Nations groups rarely have a welcoming entre into scientific studies through their oral tradition of IQ. Similarly, students in countries adopting scientific study or STEM as part of their core curriculum, rarely get introduced to IQ or other knowledge perspectives until pursuing more advanced studies in social science. This study will bridge these systems of thought and knowledge models through educational settings, by establishing baseline content during workshops with Inuit and non-Inuit elders, hunters and experts representing both knowledge frames as they apply to the study and knowledge of the narwhal. Print and Video educational modules will be prepared as an educational adjunct for science courses directed initially for high school students and a joint presentation with representative students from each group during United Nations Indigenous Day, October 12th, 2020."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"73.0376","lon":"-85.148"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/2754_T_Wright_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2021-09-09T12:00:00Z\">9 September 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2021-10-20T12:00:00Z\">20 October 2021<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/nansen-and-amundsen-basins-observational-system\" hreflang=\"en\">Nansen and Amundsen Basins Observational System<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">9 September 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">20 October 2021<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> Eastern Eurasian Basin <br \/>\n\nDeployment and recovery of moorings\n\n Research is carried out through the NABOS (Nansen and Amundsen Basins Observational System) program. The goal of this study is to develop a comprehensive and quantitative understanding of how the Eastern Eurasian Basin (EEB) functions as a switchgear, accumulating and releasing major Arctic riverine transports and redistributing ice and freshwater between the eastern and western Arctic in response to atmospheric and oceanic forcings. Three biennial cruises, planned for August-September, will take measurements between Franz Josef Land and the central East Siberian Sea, following a path that moves from shallow water to the deep sea. The sampling program connects observations using moorings, ship sampling, and drifters."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"83","lon":"150"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/expeditions\/img\/screen-shot-2021-02-17-53608-pm.png"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2021-12-15T12:00:00Z\">15 December 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-01-15T12:00:00Z\">15 January 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/icecube-and-the-askaryan-radio-array-2021\" hreflang=\"en\">IceCube and The Askaryan Radio Array 2021<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 December 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 January 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> South Pole Station, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nA Digital Optical Module (DOM) hanging in the IceCube Lab at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. Photo by Kate Miller.\n\nIceCube is located at the South Pole and records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic messenger particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars.\nThe IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves using the 100,000 neutrinos detected per year produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. Their energies far exceed those from accelerator beams. IceCube encompasses a cubic kilometer of instrumented ice, and is the largest detector by volume ever built.\nThe fully built ARA project, also located at the South Pole, will have an effective volume 100 times bigger than IceCube. The trade off is that it is only capable of observing radio waves from extremely high energy neutrinos, a million times more energetic than the neutrinos produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. This neutrinos are extremely rare, which is why such a large detector is needed to increase the chance of seeing one."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-90","lon":"-139.2667"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Miller_IceCubeLab_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2021-12-26T12:00:00Z\">26 December 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2022-02-15T12:00:00Z\">15 February 2022<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/dry-valleys-ecosystem-study-2021\" hreflang=\"en\">Dry Valleys Ecosystem Study 2021<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">26 December 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 February 2022<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Station and Dry Valleys, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nDr. Thomas Powers and Natasha Griffin collect soil samples at the F6 site in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Photo by Kevin Dickerson.\n\nThe McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research (MCM LTER) Program is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in an ice-free region of Antarctica. MCM joined the National Science Foundation's LTER Network in 1993 and is funded through the Office of Polar Programs in six year funding periods.\nThe McMurdo Dry Valleys (77\u00b030'S 163\u00b000'E) on the shore of McMurdo Sound, 2,200 miles (3,500 km) due south of New Zealand, form the largest relatively ice-free area (approximately 4,800 sq km) on the Antarctic continent. These ice-free areas of Antarctica display a sharp contrast to most other ecosystems in the world, which exist under far more moderate environmental conditions. The perennially ice-covered lakes, ephemeral streams and extensive areas of exposed soil within the McMurdo Dry Valleys are subject to low temperatures, limited precipitation and salt accumulation. The dry valleys represent a region where life approaches its environmental limits, and is an end-member in the spectrum of environments included in the LTER Network.\nThe overarching goal of MCM LTER research is to document and understand how ecosystems respond to environmental changes."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.5","lon":"163"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Dickerson_P1200001%20_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2021-10-15T12:00:00Z\">15 October 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2021-11-15T12:00:00Z\">15 November 2021<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/thermal-sensitivity-of-embryos-and-larvae-of-antarctic-marine-ectotherms-2021\" hreflang=\"en\">Thermal Sensitivity of Embryos and Larvae of Antarctic Marine Ectotherms 2021<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 October 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 November 2021<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Field Station, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nA giant sea spider towers over a field of polyps at Turtle Rock, Antarctica. Photo by Timothy R. Dwyer.\n\nCold-blooded animals in the Antarctic ocean have survived in near-constant, extreme cold conditions for millions of years and are very sensitive to even small changes in water temperature. However, the consequences of this extreme thermal sensitivity for the energetics, development, and survival of developing embryos is not well understood.\nThis project will investigate the effect of temperature on the metabolism, growth rate, developmental rate, and developmental energetics of embryos and larvae of Antarctic marine ectotherms. The project will also measure annual variation in temperature and oxygen at different sites in McMurdo Sound, and compare embryonic and larval metabolism in winter and summer to determine the extent to which these life stages can acclimate to seasonal shifts. This research will provide insight into the ability of polar marine animals and ecosystems to withstand warming polar ocean conditions."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.8499966","lon":"166.66664"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Dwyer_DSC01212_800px.jpg"}},{"date":"<time datetime=\"2021-11-15T12:00:00Z\">15 November 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"2021-12-30T12:00:00Z\">30 December 2021<\/time>\n","text":{"headline":"<a href=\"\/expeditions\/antarctic-automatic-weather-stations-2021\" hreflang=\"en\">Antarctic Automatic Weather Stations 2021<\/a>","text":"<strong>Dates:<\/strong> <time datetime=\"00Z\">15 November 2021<\/time>\n - <time datetime=\"00Z\">30 December 2021<\/time>\n <br \/>\n<strong>Location:<\/strong> McMurdo Station, Antarctica <br \/>\n\nThe team raises meteorological instrument equipment onto the Sabrina Automatic Weather Station (AWS), Antarctica. Photo by David Mikolajczyk, Courtesy of Michael Penn.\n\nThe Antarctic Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network has been making meteorological observations since the early 1980s. This continent-wide network is positioned to observe significant meteorological events and increase our understanding of the climate of the Antarctic surface. Researchers utilize the AWS network to observe and learn about the Antarctic in a warming world. Given the duration of the AWS program and maintaining AWS sites for many years, numerous studies have been conducted on the surface climatology of regions of the continent, such as the Ross Ice Shelf. This climatology also aids in other studies, like winter warming events.\nThe Antarctic Automatic Weather Station network provides a greater understanding of the surface meteorology and climatology throughout the continent of Antarctica. The AWS network spans the Ross Ice Shelf, Ross Island, West Antarctica, East Antarctica, and the South Pole. Since some of the AWS have been working for over 30 years, we can begin to understand the climate over many regions of Antarctica."},"location":{"line":"true","lat":"-77.8419","lon":"166.6863"},"media":{"url":"\/files\/2020-01\/Penn_IMG_1314_800px.jpg"}}]}}

PolarTREC Updates

Help Shape the Future of Polar Education - Become a PEI Council Member

PEI Logo

Do You Want to Make an Impact in Polar Science Education and Communication?

Get active in Polar Educators International (PEI) and the PEI leadership!

Now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 PEI Council

Polar Educators International is an essential network of educators and researchers aiming to provide a deeper understanding of current polar sciences to a global audience. The one-year Council term begins 1 June 2021. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply. Help shape PEI and the future of polar science education!

PEI Council members benefit from monthly interaction with polar educators and researchers from around the world.

  • Help organize engagement activities
  • Develop your understanding of the Polar Regions
  • Play a key role at the biennial conference in Iceland 2022
  • Assist in the development of the new Polar Resource Book

Read more about PEI on their website. To find out more about what the PEI Council does, see the FAQ here.

Applications are due 10 May 2021

Educator Liza Backman Heading to Toolik Field Station, Alaska

Educator Liza Backman Heading to Toolik Field Station, Alaska. Photo by Melissa Lau.

Teacher Liza Backman from Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy in Brooklyn, New York, will be traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska in mid-May to prepare for field work before heading to Toolik Field Station, north of the Brooks Range. She’ll be joining researchers Dr. Steve Oberbauer and Dr. Jeremy May as part of the Phenology and Vegetation in the Warming Arctic 2021 expedition. The team will study environmental variability and increased temperature on tundra plant phenology, growth, species composition and ecosystem function. Follow Liza's expedition to the Arctic by learning more about the expedition and following her journals!

Celebrate International Polar Week 2021 with APECS!

Polar Week Flyer 2021

Twice a year, the Association of Early Career Scientists (APECS) celebrates International Polar Week during the equinox, when day- and night-time are equal all around the world. During this week, they share a series of activities through APECS international and its national committees to raise awareness of the polar and alpine areas - their indigenous people, wildlife, facts, stories, scientists, and landscapes, as well as the risks they currently face, especially due to climatic changes.

This year, they are hosting a number of activities including:

  • Photo, Poetry, and Essay Competition
  • Indigenous Art
  • Polar Times - March Polar Week Special Episode
  • Webinar: When Indigenous meets western

We hope you have the chance to celebrate this special week by taking part in some of the festivities!

Arctic Science Summit Week: Session on Sustaining Collaborative Arctic Research Teams

ASSW 2020 Logo

ARCUS would like to invite Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2021 participants to join our sessions on 25 March on “Experiences in Sustaining Collaborative Arctic Research Teams.” There will be two sessions on 25 March (11:30–13:30 GMT and 15:30–17:30 GMT). Each session will include oral presentations and lightning talks from poster presenters followed by an interactive discussion to share successes, failures and challenges faced when building and sustaining collaborative research teams. Additional resources shared by participants will also be made available on the ARCUS website after the meeting.


What is PolarTREC?

STEM at the Poles! Research Experiences for Formal and Informal Educators in the Polar Regions is the newest iteration of PolarTREC. The educators (formal and informal) come from the United States and spend 3-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the Arctic or Antarctica, working side by side with scientists. STEM at the Poles is professional development for educators across all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines connecting them to the polar regions and the research community; developing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) resources; and changing how they teach STEM in both informal and formal learning environments. PolarTREC is funded through awards from the National Science Foundation and administered by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS).

Image: The 2019 PolarTREC Cohort and project management team pose for a photo outside the Syun-Ichi Akasofu Building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus during orientation week.

Find people, expeditions, and resources

PolarTREC has hosted 193 expeditions and houses over 2,000 resources for educational use.

Locate Team Members

Check out our member directory to locate a team member from a current or previous PolarTREC expedition.

Follow Expeditions

All current and past expeditiions are listed in reverse chronological order for viewing.

Find Resources

Lesson plans, activities, articles, web links and more can be found in our resources section.